Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sunflowers and gardening optimism

It's often a surprise to see how things turn out in the garden--sometimes better than I envisioned and sometimes not.  The latter is the case with the sunflowers intended to dress up the fence this year.  They didn't quite turn into a cheerful row and only this one managed to fully bloom, although showing signs of a struggle.



An early blast of 100+(37C) temps toasted a few of the young seedlings and these caterpillars took out a few more.  My best guess is these are mourning cloak butterflies (Nymphalis antiopa).  I just let them eat.


The remaining six or so matured, but a few buds fused together and never opened.


Not exactly the cheerful fence disguise I planned


The metal sunflower on the bottle tree continues to "bloom" by the fence year round and the new wheel garden is ready to host all those new butterflies its neighbors fed. 


I remain the optimistic gardener, glad to have lots of butterflies, and the fence dressing project will wait until next year.

17 comments:

  1. Looks great Shirley. I know I know. The fence. We both are in a similiar predicament. I hate the rotting ugly wood at our place. So I planted a green screen in front of it using oleander. I'm not a big fan of something that needs replacing in our climate. I've had some winners and losers but there is so much fenceline that I'm still dealing with exposed areas. No me gusta. Your Sunflower is sign for hope:)

    Pulling back, I can see you have a lot for the butterflies to celebrate. That has to be quite beautiful! Enjoy.

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    1. We are enjoying the garden more and more as things get done.

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  2. Your fused sunflowers look like something from the sci-fi channel.....thats awesome.
    ALma Delia

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    1. I'd like to know how that happened since I've not seen it before.

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  3. Deer love to eat the tops off my sunflowers. As I was watering today, I saw one plant that the deer missed. It is growing through lots of weeds so hopefully I will have one sunflower too.

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    1. The lone survivor seems to be a sunflower theme this year.

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  4. Yet daily, I drive by some wild sunflowers that started a few weeks ago (2 months early?), living in this dryness. Hopefully the barrage of critters slows down, and it recovers.

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    1. That's the key DD, I have collected seeds from the Maxmillian Sunflowers which thrive in every untended spot even in drought. I'll plant those next year.

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  5. Always challenges.
    I'm a bit jealous of your Pride of Barbados. The deer around here eat the blooms on them. I'm thinking of getting more wire. I just don't like 'caged plants'.
    Your wheel garden is looking good.

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    1. Not sure why the deer have left those alone because they do eat the ones out front. Must be plenty to eat out there.

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  6. Love the cheerful display of gomphrena and pride of Barbados! There are always things that don't turn out as we hope. Thankfully there are a few successes to keep us going!

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    1. There's always something to look forward to in the garden.

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  7. It's always a balance when it comes to butterflies. You can't have the butterflies with out the very hungry caterpillars.

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    1. Exactly, so I leave them where they are.

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  8. Send me some of those kewt caterpillars!
    I have tons of sunflowers... I think you need some perennial sunflowers for your morning cloaks, those birdseed sunflowers don't look too tasty... Poor caterpillars!

    What are those orange things in the bottom pic? I think some of those would echo my tithonia very nicely...

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    1. I've been collecting seeds from natives I see around town to get a better display next year.

      The orange blooms are Pride of Barbados. They are not native but grow very well here.

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  9. Your new Texas wagon wheel garden is filling in beautifully - looks incredible ...thriving! My sunflowers look like yours now...it is sad...but you have a lot of beauty in your garden to make up for it that is for sure!

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